How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Feliz (yes, feliz) Día de Los Muertos

Photo by Omar Torres/AFP Getty Images

Ofrendas of food and beverages on an altar in Mexico City in preparation for Day of the Dead, October 31, 2008

The sight of altars and sugar skulls has become a common one in Los Angeles and in other parts of the United States, anywhere that Mexican immigrants have influenced the culture. El Día de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is now as much a part of this season as Halloween.

But much of what has come across, as might be expected with a holiday that is so visually rich, is the art and the revelry. Not to say that revelry isn't a part of it, but this is not, as some may see it, a Mexican version of Halloween. One of the central themes of el Día de Los Muertos that often gets lost in translation is that even in death, our loved ones remain a part of our lives. It can be a bittersweet celebration, but sweet all the same.

There's a nice essay today on the News Taco website from Sara Inés Calderón, who writes about how she grasped the meaning of the Day of the Dead when she began losing loved ones:


The cultural mashup dictionary: Googlear

Photo by TexasT/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Thank you, News Taco, for calling to mind a term that merits a place in the evolving cultural mashup dictionary: Googlear.

Yesterday the website published a brief post on a report from ClickZ, which provides marketing news, on the Google search habits of Latinos. I'd seen the report earlier and it's interesting in itself: Among other things, 93 percent of Latinos use Google for searches, 80 percent of Spanish keyword searches come from the search engine's English interface (which likely means that bilingual Latinos are searching the English interface), and Latinos are big smartphone users, with a greater tendency to use cell phones in their searches than the general market.

But back to the term "googlear," which the post featured prominently in a graphic. I say this all the time without thinking about it. It's not just any neologism but a double one, a new term coined from another new term. Here is the sort-of official definition of googlear from Wikipedia: